Wednesday, October 2, 2013

How to prepare for a market

So you have made your application and been accepted – congratulations! What now?

I think one of the hardest things to determine is what you need to take to the market. In the coming weeks, I will share with you my survival kit and tips on displaying your products. So in part two of my market series, I wanted to take you through some suggestions about how to prepare for a market.


I was accepted into my first market just 6 weeks prior to the market day, so went from a base point of nothing to a fully stocked stall in just a few weeks. And I also work 4 days a week. Looking back, I’m not sure how I did it but I know my spreadsheet helped. I started with columns for: 

  • Product
  • Size 0
  • Size 1 etc etc etc (make sure you have a column for each size)
  • Amount (with a formula to add the numbers you put in for each size)
  • Unit price
  • Total price (which is the Amount x Unit Price = Total Price)

This works for my soft toys, hair clips etc as well. I just list out each item – so “Green Christmas Peasant dress” and then with a 1 in each column corresponding to the size. The thing I like the most about this system is that you can quickly and easily see by running your finger (or eye!) down the column to make sure you also have enough clothes in each size as well as each design.

I’m not as good as I used to be about updating this. Mainly cause I now just know, ya know! But when I first started, this was FANTASTIC in keeping me organised and on track with what I needed to make.

Range of prices across your product range

I have a range of products starting with little wool felt hair clips at $3 through to my dresses and skirt sets which are $35. I often get young girls coming around with just a few dollars to spend and love buying the clips. Also you would be amazed how often people are willing to spend a few dollars extra to get matching hair accessories for the beautiful handmade outfits they have just bought. Consider your market audience and possibly have products at different price points to suit all kinds of budgets.

Price everything

Despite all the signs you have on display, someone will pick up your product and ask how much it is. So have both. I have tags on all my products. Make sure you allow enough time to tag everything beforehand or do it as you go. It doesn’t have to be fancy. I have special ones I use for my clothing but prefer to have my clips on my business card as people will often take just that and not need a bag. 

How adorable are these little button tags from Little Magnolia Button!?

Volume discounts

Have offers if customers buy more than one item – so you could have baby bibs priced at $10 or three for $25. I know it is just a couple of dollars saving but it might entice them to buy more.

You could also offer a “market only” special deal for example offer a percentage off a product or range. Makes your customers feel like they are getting a special deal only available at the market and may spur them on to parting with their cash!

As a small business you need to be careful with this one though as it is fairly common for small business owners to have a small profit margin - don't "sell yourself short" of profits just to make sales.

Practice your set up
Practice your set up prior to your market, it can be really stressful when you get there, so you want to make sure it is all laid out properly.

Before my first market, I chalked out my very limited 2 metre x 1 metre space outside and did a trial set up. It was a great way of seeing where there were any visual gaps and making sure everything fits. Take lots of photos as you do it (so option 1, option 2 or option 3) so you are able to decide which looks best and then be able to replicate it on the day.

Prepare yourself

Consider yourself as a reflection of your products and business – how you dress, how you approach your customers and how you act on the day will impact your sales.

You might also like:

  • Craft Show Tips (I found this after I wrote my post and was thrilled we said the same things – sort of validates me!)

Next week I will share my survival kit with you - all the little things that I have collected and lessons learnt on what not to forget.

Do you have any tips on preparing for a market? Would love to hear them.


  1. These are wonderful hints :) I am going to do a spreadsheet for my market stock this year so I know what I sell and therefore need to 'replace' for the next market. I have more stuff this year than I did last year, so I know I won't remember everything.

  2. What a great post Jane! Great tips, I'm happy to say I do most of this now, approaching my business anniversary, but I don't do a spreadsheet & you know, it would really make things easier! It would have been great to find a post like this when starting out too, I'm sure it'll be really useful to lots of people starting out, well done!

  3. Preparing for a market requires careful planning and strategic foresight. Understanding the target audience, analyzing competition, and conducting thorough market research are crucial steps in the process. By equipping oneself with the right knowledge and insights, one can make informed decisions, adapt to market dynamics, and position their offering effectively for success.. Fat Shack: What Happened After Shark Tank


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